Council Takes Critical Look at Niverville’s Main Street


1 Council Takes Critical Look At Niverville’S Main Street Pic1
Niverville Mayor Myron Dyck speaks with residents at open house Brenda Sawatzky

On February 8, Niverville’s town council held a public open house at the south end of the arena to introduce aspects of a functional design study proposed for Niverville’s Main Street. The study encompasses the section of Provincial Highway 311 stretching from Krahn Road to Sixth Avenue. 

Residents who attended the open house were welcomed with a variety of concept plans providing different options for improving traffic management along the busy corridor. The study was performed by CH2M, traffic engineering consultants hired by the town. Engineer Glenn Churchill was on site to answer questions and collect feedback from residents which will be compiled for council’s review.

With the strong population growth over the past ten years, traffic has likewise increased. The community has virtually doubled in size since 2006 and is expected to come close to doubling again by 2027. By 2042, studies suggest that Niverville could reach upwards of 10,000 residents. For this reason, council feels it’s imperative to take a strategic look at areas of high traffic volume now with careful consideration for the future.

“The purpose of this project is to develop a proactive transportation plan for access management and roadway improvements,” says Churchill. “The plan will be developed based on a detailed inventory of existing conditions, a review of current and future land uses, a future travel demand forecast, and an associated operational review of key intersections in the corridor. The functional design and cost estimate will allow the Town of Niverville to identify and implement priority upgrades to the transportation network as development occurs over a 25?year horizon.” 

While CH2M’s plans include a broad scope of strategies to improve Main Street, council and the community at large can view these merely as blueprints for now, some to be earmarked for future construction and others to be ruled out altogether, depending on cost and overall feasibility.

Based on CH2M’s designs, a number of potential problem areas were identified, including the Krahn Road intersection to the west of town, as well as the busy intersections of Third, Fifth, and Sixth Avenues. 

The engineering team recommended a one-lane roundabout with right lane cut-offs at the intersection of 311 and Krahn Road, where traffic volumes will only increase as the retail sector expands along the service road east of Tim Hortons and as The Highlands development fills up. The land on the northeast side of this intersection has also been designated residential and a new development will expand into this area shortly, likely increasing traffic on Krahn Road.

A two-lane roundabout is recommended for Sixth Avenue and Main, where traffic flow is expected to increase as the construction of Sixth Avenue is completed. Traffic lights were proposed for the intersections of both Third and Fifth Avenues. 

Much consideration was also given to the prolific number of driveways and street accesses onto Main, slowing traffic as vehicles regularly pull on and off. To remedy this, a number of accesses are recommended for closure and rerouting. These include closing off the Fourth Avenue South access and relocating the crosswalk slightly east of its current location.

“This will help with traffic congestion near the elementary school and make the pedestrian crossing safer,” Churchill says. “Any traffic that would normally use Fourth Avenue can use Third or Fifth Avenues. Based on the traffic projections, within 25 years the volume of traffic that will be realized at Third Avenue will require a traffic light. Without the traffic light at this location, vehicles waiting to either cross Main Street or make left-hand turns will be waiting an unreasonable amount of time. Having traffic lights at Third Avenue will also give children another safe crossing location when accessing the elementary school on the north side of Main Street.”

Churchill adds that, on its own, the corner of Second Avenue and Main would also be a valuable location for a traffic light due to the hub that has developed here between the credit union, pharmacy, and post office. However, when the study of Main Street as a whole was completed, they felt that adding a third traffic light would be detrimental to overall traffic flow.

On the east end of town, to further improve traffic flow, CH2M recommend extending Bronstone Drive all the way to the Manitoba Hydro building, which would allow for the closure of four more driveways that currently turn off to Maple Leaf Foods and Niverville Concrete. 

Main Street, between Fifth Avenue and the railway tracks, also has great potential for improvement. A complete redesign of this stretch could include bike lanes on the north side of Main and a centre median.

To the west, and in the area set aside for the new high school and Community Resource Centre, access and egress routes are being extensively reconsidered. CH2M recommends closing off the east Main Street access to Church Street and Ritchot Drive and connecting the two streets to create a circle, accessible only from Mulberry Avenue on the west. Mulberry Avenue would also become a one-way access to the school and CRC, exiting at the existing Arena Road. Creating this one-way traffic zone would provide additional safety for students, pedestrians, and busses.

The section between Arena Road and Prairie Trail, Churchill admits, has proven to be a troublesome area due to the railway tracks running through it.

“[This] section is a challenge,” he says. “There is a proposed realignment of the intersection of Prairie Trail to match up with Heritage Trail. Mixed into that realignment are the CP Rail tracks, which will likely require gates at the crossing as traffic increases within the town. There is also a need for a proper pedestrian and cyclist crossing at the CP Rail tracks. Compounding the difficulty in that area is the transition from ditches near Arena Road to the curbing and land drainage system which begins at Prairie Trail.”

Because the tracks, and a portion of the land on either side of them, belong to CP Rail, council has been actively reaching out to negotiate with the rail company for needed changes—changes that include improving drainage flowing out of town as well as pedestrian access with the new facilities soon to be introduced on their boundary. 

“The rail line is a major barricade for water drainage within town, and as such we successfully met with a manager from CP [Rail] and expect to have a culvert go under the tracks this year,” says Niverville’s economic development officer, Eric King. “The second item we are working with [them] on is what the railroad crossing needs to look like and how it should be improved going forward. The town is hoping to have CP cover all the costs with this upgrade. If not, there are grants available through Transport Canada that we will apply for. [It will] probably be a 2019 or 2020 upgrade, depending on funding and how it progresses through CP’s structure.”

For more information

You can find the functional design PowerPoint presentation on the town’s website:

Time until next issue
Citizen Poll

Do you agree with Ritchot council's decision to end the seniors housing/daycare project that had been initiated alongside Niverville Heritage Holdings?